I have published research on a wide range of cultural policy issues including gallery and museum histories, monuments and public art, cultural heritage, creative industries, cultural development, culture-led urban development and cultural values. The overarching argument in my work generally is that cultural ‘pump-priming’ of any kind must be clear-eyed not only about its economic and cultural effects but more importantly its social and political effects.
New and On-going Projects
I am currently working on a monograph Museums and the Politics of Urban Development for publication with Routledge in 2014. The focus of this book is to explore the political rationalities which have informed the roles of 'flagship' museums opened in the last decade or currently under development. The book is international in its scope and includes an examination of new museum developments in Brisbane, Australia; Hong Kong; Abu Dhabi; Denver, USA, and Newcastle/ Gateshead, UK (site specific research in these locations was funded by the British Academy and University of Leicester). In contrast to much that has been written about 'flagship' museums which tend to view such developments as static monolithic entities, the analysis presented in this book will engage with the complexity of new museum developments as specific products of negotiations between a variety of (sometimes competing) models of professional museum practice and a whole suite of external political pressures to do with, for instance, regeneration, city branding and cultural tourism objectives.
I am also part of a team, led by PI Andrew Miles at CRESC, working on 'Understanding Everyday Participation- Articulating Cultural Values'. This AHRC Connected Communities funded £1.5 million project runs from 2012 to 2018.
With Eleonora Belfiore from the University of Warwick I am coordinating the 'Histories of participation, value and governance' part of the larger project. This series of discrete historical projects will result in an integrated, critical examination of the terms, narratives and assumptions constructing present day notions of participation and value and the relations between them. A conference on 'Histories of participation, value and governance' is scheduled to take place in September 2015 at the University of Leicester, followed by the publication of an edited book.
The central focus of the 'Understanding Everyday Participation' project is 6 multi-method location specific pieces of work focusing on what we are calling 'ecosystems', I am leading the 'ecosystem' research in Gateshead, Peterborough and (funded by Creative Scotland) the Western Isles. For more detail about the project in general, including detail on the 'histories' and 'ecosystem' work see the project www at www.everydayparticipation.org
Funded Research Projects (completed last 10 years)
PI, 'Museums and the Politics of Urban Development in Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong', British Academy, 2010-2013.
Co-I, (Andrew Miles- PI), 'Understanding Everyday Participation- Articulating Cultural Value', Development Project, AHRC, 2010, Universities of Manchester and Leicester.
PI, (John Pendlebury- Co-I), 'Valuing Historic Environments: Concepts, Instrumentalisations and Effects', EPSRC, Universities of Leicester and Newcastle, 2006-7.
PI, ‘Culture Circuits: An Examination of the International Movements and Influence of Ideas and Personnel Shaping Contemporary Cultural Policy’, Princeton University, 2004- 5
Co-I (Tom O'Regan-PI), ‘Cultural Policy and “The Independents” in Australia and Britain’, Australian Research Council, University of Melbourne and Griffith University, 2002- 2004
PI, ‘Tropical Creative Cities’, University of Melbourne, 2003
PI, ‘Public Art and Heritage—History, Practice, Policy’, Australian Research Council, University of Melbourne and Griffith University, 2001- 2003
Supervised and Examined Projects
PhD Supervision (selected current and past):
Anna Woodham, Museums and the Geography of School Visits (awarded PhD 2009)
Katy Bunning, Negotiating Race: Ethnic Museums and Source Communities at the Smithsonian Institution, 2004-2014
Catarina Carvalho, An analysis of museums of contemporary art, as instruments of urban regeneration in the city of Rome
Sarah Hughes (AHRC 'Understanding Everyday Participation'), Cultural participation and the construction of civic identity in South Yorkshire working class communities
Keun Lim, From cultural welfare to cultural enterprise: Cultural policy and public art museums in South Korea since the 1990s
Clore Fellowship Research Project Supervision:
Sarah Stannage, ‘21st Century Society: Exploring community, leadership and connectivity in small museums in local settings’, 2010-13
PhD Examinations (external, selected):
Rimi Khan, 2011, Reconstructing Community-Based Arts: Cultural Value and the Neoliberal Citizen, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne
Nicole Porter, 2009, The promotion and production of contemporary landscape, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne
Konstantinos Arvantitis, 2007, Everyday Media for Everyday Meanings: Interpreting Archaeological Monuments in the Streets of a Greek City, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
Belinda Jane Nemec, 2006, The Grainger Museum in its Museological and Historical Contexts, Australian Centre, University of Melbourne.